Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attends an event a day ahead of the implementation of the nationwide Goods and Services Tax (GST) in Ahmadabad, India, Friday, June 30, 2017. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
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Shops and businesses reopened in India amid confusion Saturday, hours after the government introduced a new nationwide tax that will change the cost of nearly everything people buy, replacing a complicated mix of state and federal taxes.The main opposition Congress party and some other parties boycotted the ceremony, arguing that nearly 7 million traders needed more time to prepare for the new system, which requires them to file tax returns every month.The government published lists last month showing that almost every item for sale in India, from shampoo to tea to automobiles, should be taxed within four broad categories -- at rates of 5 percent, 12 percent, 18 percent or 28 percent.Most of India's 29 states have passed local laws to implement the new tax regime, but some have pleaded for more time. Some opposition parties asked the government to delay implementation of the new system until October because Indian businesses were still recovering from the government's snap decision to remove 86 percent of its currency from circulation overnight on Nov. 8 .While economists mostly agree that a single, nationwide tax will streamline business, there are concerns about how an economy as unwieldy as India's will transition to a system that involves filing monthly tax returns online.
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